Slate Gabfest
Misty & I attended the Seattle live taping of this week’s Slate Gabfest podcast at Seattle Town Hall. So glad I did this.

Settlers!
I started this new Thing today on a full-time scale. It’s awesome.

Tonight, Misty & 2 other ladies (that I hadn’t yet met) invited me to join them tonight for a girls-only Settlers of Catan match up. Thoroughly enjoyed meeting these new ladies and got back into the gaming swing of things. I want to do this again. Soon.

We found it remarkable the number of men who stopped by to try to provide advice or commentary. I offer this as an idea to my single lady friends who no longer wish to remain so.

Seattle Half Marathon start
It’s been a few years since I was actually in town for this, so I signed up. My least training ever led to one of my slowest times, but I did it!

After a week in New York and another in Louisiana, my dryer shrank all my clothes somehow. So it’s good I did this.

Sunday Funday!

The new regime begins tomorrow, so we had dim sum for lunch with Misty. For dinner, we had some important news to celebrate at Staple and Fancy.

Staple and fancy

a postcard I sent
It’s a rare trip where I’m not mailing a postcard on the way to the airport. This time, another last minute errand was our stop at Sammy’s on Highland. Even better than Sunday’s visit! Shrimp poboy and fried pickles, thank you very much.

Midwest Sunset
We flew back to Seattle via O’Hare. This is somewhere between New Orleans and Chicago.

the levee in front of Nottoway
I started the day with a 5k. It wouldn’t be enough to offset the rest of the day, but…
Nottoway Plantation
For our big Thanksgiving meal, we drove down the west side of the Mississippi River past Plaquemines to Nottoway Plantation. My favorite part was the crawfish étouffée. We got to tour the grounds and I walked along the levee.

After a solid afternoon nap, we went to dinner at a nearby seafood place. They were ready for Christmas and we watched a raucous Saints win.
Ralph and Kacoo's Xmas Tree

Oh, and one more gem from the Nottoway Gift Shop:
Cats Leave Paw Prints On Your Heart

State Capitol
The last few times I’ve visited Baton Rouge, the observation deck at the top of the “new” state capitol building was under renovation. They’ve finished, so we took Mr. T up to the top. It was the site of many childhood school day field trips.
The Kingfish
Huey P Long from the 27th Floor
We walked the grounds, sat by the river, and slowly made our way home.
mizzippi
Dinner: Stroube’s Chophouse downtown. You know, cause what’s better than a big steak dinner and crème brûlée the night before Thanksgiving?
Crème brûlée at Stroubes

Louisiana Trip Nov 2010
We started our day right, yet again, visiting with a good friend (E) at Baton Rouge’s Strands Cafe. E told me about the place a few years ago. I stop in every visit now, so it was great to finally go there with her. They make wonderful french pastries (they are LCB-trained), confections and coffee. I’ve worked my way through the whole drink menu and there’s not a single miss.

Then, we spent the afternoon visiting with my oldest friend, G, and her family. By oldest firiend, I mean, G and I — we go all the way back. When she had her baby blessing (other religions consider this a christening) at two months, she borrowed my blessing dress and I hear she did quite the number on it. That’s okay, I was already 6 months ahead of her and it wasn’t like I was gonna use it again.

I could spend hours chatting with her nonstop and back in the day, this is all we did in Summertime afternoons. Now when we get together, there’s other people we have to consider 🙂 and we end up cutting it only to a few hours.

When it was time to go, Mr. T, my mom, brother, & I continued with the trip’s revisiting theme, and drove to another local favorite down river at Roberto’s River Road. More shrimp — this time with peppers and brandy butter in a bread boule — and more Sensation Salad! Yes, this visit was turning into a greatest hits tour.

Strands cafe on Urbanspoon

Roberto's River Road Restaurant on Urbanspoon

La Lou - Redfish Benedict
We are doing this vacation right. I think I got about 12 hours of sleep last night. When we were ready to face the world, we went with my mom to the newly rebranded La Lou. Once upon a time, it was called Another Broken Egg and I wrote about it. They’ve expanded to dinner service and updated their name to something a little less breakfast-focused. Well, we were there for brunch so I could revisit the Redfish Benedict. I’m happy to report the change in name has not altered the delicious andouille hollandaise.
LaLou on Urbanspoon
We spent the rest of the day shopping in various forms — Mall of Louisiana, then later, Books-a-Million. I found a lot of gems in the bookstore, including this missed opportunity for a wedding cake:
File under missed opportunity
The person in charge of book displays has a sense of humor, doesn’t (s)he?
Nice pairing there

First "Man Painted in Gold" Sighting
My family & I went with an old friend of mine to Saints vs. Seahawks today. Local fans were crawling all over the lobby of The Roosevelt beforehand.
I'll have a Quarterback Brees, please.
We brunched at Mr. B’s Bistro before walking over to the Superdome.
Brees everywhere
Hawk Daddy
Then, we hauled it back to Baton Rouge for Sammy’s shrimp poboys and a new discovery: their fried pickles.

View of Canal St. from Tower 2 in the Roosevelt
We flew to Louisiana for Thanksgiving, and since we have plans in New Orleans on Sunday, we decided to stay in The Roosevelt one more night. Domenica for dinner downstairs was the cherry on top.

Downtown on a Rainy Thursday
I took a quick meeting with Ms. V downtown. This view near the elevators is where I decided to run back to the car for an umbrella.

Washington Square Park Chess

Sorry for such long delays, dear readers. Turns out, this new thing I’m doing takes up a whole lotta daytime hours. I have high hopes to get all caught up…I still take pictures everyday.

So. Where were we? Oh, yes, NYC.

This morning, Kate, Mr. T & I arose with hot plans to revisit my favorite new NY establishment — Russ & Daughter’s. Mr. T became a convert.
My Beloved Russ & Daughters
My beloved pastrami smoked salmon with The Works.

Then, we 3 walked through the Lower East Side to the East Village to SoHo to the West Village & Greenwich over to the High Line before heading back to the apartment. I think we clocked somewhere around five miles in the sunshine and 70 degrees.

Washington Square Park

Oh, and we saw puppies in Greenwich Village. Always a bonus.

Puppy #2 of Greenwich Village

For a brief hour there as we were thwarted through bridge closures and rough traffic, it nearly appeared we’d become overnight refugees in the city. But, we made it to JFK just in time for sunset and our departure home to Seattle.

Sunset from the Tarmac

L.E.S.
Patriotism in the L.E.S.
Amelia & Leit met me in Chelsea for breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien. Once upon a time, I traveled with Amelia to Uruguay after meeting up in Buenos Aires. It was good to catch up with all that’s happened since — back then, she’d only just met the person who later became her husband!
I can't believe we didn't buy these.
How many smurfs had to die so I could wear this blue hat at C21? Photo by Kate
Next, I tracked down Kate & Colleague at Century 21 in Lower Manhattan. They were spending time shopping ’til their flights mid-afternoon, so I joined them. I have to say, nothing restores your faith in America & capitalism quite like seeing what goes in there, across the street from the WTC site.
Russ & Daughters
We trekked over to Soho & the L.E.S., ending up at Russ & Daughters, masters of salmon, and a few shops down — Yonah Shimmel, purveyor of knish. Russ & Daughter’s pastrami smoked salmon on a flagel with the works was not unlike a religious experience for me. This shiksa was in love.
Yonah Shimmel's Knishery
Time had slipped away from us & my two companions now needed to get on the road. I was sad to say good-bye and joked that if something happened to their travel plans, we have a couch!
Doughnut Plant: LES
Now solo, I decided it was time to get some culcha at the Tenement Musuem, but I was gonna incorporate this with finishing an L.E.S. food tour I found on Chow.com (I’d already covered Yonah and Russ & D). I went off official itinerary quickly, as the first thing I found was the Doughnut Plant — long ago recommended by Frank. I bought goodies for later, where I’d decide these are THE BEST ANYWHERE. A sample of flavors:
Doughnut Plant
Next stop: Kossar’s Bialys. I still prefer bagels, but I wanted to get these at the source to judge my opinion. As I was exiting, I turned to see: The Pickle Guys. Now those who really know my food preferences (hi, Mom!) know that at this point, I probably heard angels singing. I might have a bit of a problem but it started way back in preschool. I love them. I buy a lot of pickles, like most foodies buy kinds of mustard. But it usually feels like every week, the recycling bin gets fresh empty jars from me, so it’s not like I save the good ones for someday. Part of a healthy diet, at only 5 calories each! Let’s not talk about the sodium. Who cares about sodium when all those other grams and food stats are hard enough to keep track of??? Anyhow, I selected a representative sampling of their offerings, and they totally threw in more for free.
You Go Girl
Ok, back on track. I reached the Tenement Museum and realized they were going to require a few hours of my time for the official tour. I decided…next time, and started walking north with a vague idea of catching the subway or preferably, a cab, to the MOMA. Before that, I wanted to try a chocolate egg cream and went in this little recommended place. It was weird, but hey, I’d just had pickles.
Egg Cream!
And so I kept moving up 2nd, hoping for a cab but we’d entered that Friday afternoon hour in NYC where none of those cabbies would pull over and if they did, shook their heads when I said, “55th?” Exhausted, I continued to Union Square to catch a train to MOMA. I made it, but a glance into the museum confirmed today was not my museum day. I was tuckered out and knew I’d just hate humanity if I battled the crowds. Plus I had reservations at Sushi Gari in only 2 hours (recommended by Kate after her Wednesday dinner), so maybe heading home was my best bet.

When I consulted my phone to recalculate directions, I realized there was a missed call while I was in the subway! The Delta agents at JFK were complete asshats to Kate and wouldn’t let her get on a flight. At JFK, it turns out, you must check in your bags at 60 minutes and she was at 56, after battling traffic all across NYC. Time for a houseguest!!! I know she was frustrated to not get on that flight, but I was so excited we had her with us for one more day. The only issue was getting her a key — but Mr. T went to our building security, added her to our account, and got her clearance as she made her way back to Manhattan. We raced north to our reservations at Sushi of Gari 46.
Sushi of Gari 46: Best Sushi Ever
So: I shy away from declaring a place the best, because things change so quickly and can be so dependent on the chef, but Sushi of Gari 46 is the best sushi I have ever had in my life! We sat at the bar for omakase and I took notes. 21 rounds of notes. I knew 2 rounds in that this was the pinnacle, and brushed aside any notions of moderation. The cost of abandoning moderation was high, but you only live once. P.S. Mr. T told the chef “uncle” a couple of rounds before me. My DimSumCouver training was coming in handy!
The Ace
Afterward, we met with Kate and took her to one of our favorite finds from before her arrival: The Breslin at The Ace Hotel, mentioned last week. This would put us all in the right frame of mind to polish off the doughnuts found at the Plant earlier today.

I went to sleep very happy, after one of my best days in NYC — as evidenced by all the exclamations in this post.
Stumptown: West Coast Presence

Empire in Blue

Restaurants from today:
Russ & Daughters on Urbanspoon
Yonah Schimmel's Knish Bakery on Urbanspoon
Doughnut Plant on Urbanspoon
Kossar's Bialys on Urbanspoon
The Pickle Guys on Urbanspoon
Sushi of Gari 46 on Urbanspoon

Central Park on a Fall Afternoon
Today was very New Yorkish. I:
-got caught up in Veteran’s parade-watching crowds
-had lunch with a good friend, a native New Yorker who’s returned since finishing her grad school at UW
Central Park Foliage
-walked through Central Park to take in the foliage
Spiderman in Central Park
-spied Spiderman
Central Park Bubble Man
-watched Bubble-man
-took the train up to the Bronx, where I got lost after taking the wrong exit to get to The Cloisters
-took an impromptu walking tour of Washington Heights
View from the Cloisters Terrace
-wandered the grounds of Fort Tryon Park, the Heather Garden & The Cloisters
Hey, I found that missing unicorn
-found the unicorn that was missing, maybe?
-had dinner of remarkable black garlic ramen at Hide Chen
-visited Kate in her fancy Scandinavian-themed place near the north-eastern edges of midtown
-walked all the way home via 5th Avenue to Flatiron/Chelsea

Times Square
I wasn’t getting anywhere trying to talk Mr. T into catching any Broadway shows, so I decided early to plan to hit a matinee midweek. Today, I saw Elling. Turns out, it was all Hollywood: Brendan Fraser, Denis O’Hare, and Jennifer Cooper (‘memba her from Legally Blonde? Or Best In Show?). It was a pleasant mid-afternoon diversion, though I discovered later why the storyline seemed familiar when Mr. T reminded me we’d watched the Norwegian film years ago. P.S. I relearned during intermission Fraser attended Cornish back in the day. Go Seattle!

Empire from the High Line

When the play let out, I walked for a while to The High Line which is getting tons of well-deserved 2010 press. I later learned those who did the High Line won the bid for Seattle’s waterfront. I’m taking this as spectacular news.

High Line Sunset

I watched the sun set over Jersey. And plotted for dinner late that evening at Artichoke Basille, another NY pizza place.

Artichoke Basile from the High Line

Post-dinner, Kate & Colleague were available to join us at Death & Company where the drinks were divine.

Mr. T's drink
Slap 'n Pickle
Should you find yourself here someday, try their Slap ‘N Pickle — with Aquavit, muddled cucumber, lime & grenadine. It was a surprise hit & a group favorite.

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